That voice, oh that voice, it’s been menacing me for months. It’s always been there, sometimes stronger than other times, but in the past few months it’s been like a snowball gaining speed and size as it careens down a steep mountain. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and admitted to Jon that I believed that I got food poisoning and a tooth abscess, all in the past month, because I haven’t gone to my yoga class in a while.
It’s not that I hadn’t been trying to make sense of the voice. I considered that it was guilt, or superstition or that I was just crazy. But it seemed to just make too much sense to be anything but the truth. Until I saw the look on Jon’s face. (Did he really make that circular movement with his finger by his temple, that universal sign for crazy, or was I just imagining it?) But there was only a moment to question what he was thinking. Crazy was his opinion, no doubt about it. I liked his clarity. Could it be. If it was true, that my thinking was crazy, what a relief that would be. That meant I could actually do something about it, (besides going back to my yoga class out of superstition and guilt) I could change the way I was thinking.
But the voice wasn’t just on my back about yoga guilt. It was waking me up at night and haunting me at every opportunity. Maybe it suspected that I was on to it. That it was losing it’s hold on me so it was preparing for the battle.
All along I was seeing this voice as the adult, the parent, the god in the clouds throwing lightning bolts. But really it was the voice of my unintegrated self. It was the child in me still living in fear, not knowing that now, I was the adult. I was the only one who could make decisions for myself. I was the only one I had to answer to. I had talked to the child before, visualized her out of damaging situations, but when Jon suggested I talk to her again I knew it was just what I needed to do. I knew that the child was not integrated with my adult self. She huddled fearful and alone in the dark, not knowing that the adult was now me. Not a parent, or some other authority figure or some supernatural presence. That we are the same person and now I was in charge of my life.
So the next time I heard the menacing voice that frightened the child, I found her in the dark and held her close to me. Telling her that it was okay now there was nothing to be afraid of. That I would take care of her. Taking her away with me out of the darkness.
And it seems to be working. Whenever the fear comes up, the one that tells me I’ve done something wrong, I remember I’m the adult, I make the decision about right and wrong and I reassure the child in me of that truth and that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
I wrote before I left on our trip to Vermont for my 50th Birthday, that getting my tattoo would be a rite of passage. But getting the tattoo was the least of it. What really happened was my becoming clear about and dealing with that voice that has haunted me most of my life.
I’m not saying this all has to do with turning 50, more that having this time to think and talk about it and having the courage to deal with it changed me. Although I’m not dismissing the idea that turning 50 had something to do with it. I’ve heard from so many people, mostly women that with the age of 50 comes a confidence and sense of self. I feel like, in the past three days, I walked though a long threshold and came out the other side a different person. Closer to the person I want to be.